Diplomatica Recipe – Ricetta Diplomatica

This cake-dessert is delicious with a capital D. I first tried it years ago over coffee in Cortona and this year Carlo’s mum taught me her family recipe. We had a great morning in the kitchen with Shanna helping make the sponge, and me slowly translating the Italian recipe into English and converting “splashes” and “dollops” into tablespoons and grams.

Our cake is fully assembled now and waiting patiently in the fridge to be brought out after dinner tonight. Once assembled you can serve immediately, or put it in the fridge for a few hours to let the layers of crème patisserie and Alchermes liquid soak into the sponge.

We’ll be making this again for Christmas in Australia. Please let me know if you give it a whirl – I’d love to hear what you think!

Ciao ciao, Sioban


Diplomatica Recipe

Serves 10


Crème patisserie – Ingredients

  • 500ml milk
  • 4 tblsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean stick
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 40 gm plain flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 gelatine leaf to the weight of 2 grams. Note: Australian gelatine leaves are 4 grams.


Place your gelatine in a bowl of cold water to soften. In a heavy based pot put your milk, lemon zest and vanilla bean and heat milk till just below boiling point. In a mixing bowl, whisk your egg yolks and sugar together until they become similar to a custard and lighter in colour, then add in your flour and combine well. Add in a little of your hot milk to make it thinner and mix well so there are no lumps. Pour the rest of the milk through a strainer and scrape out as much of the vanilla beans from the pod as possible. Mix to combine and pour the custard mixture back to the pot and cook on a low heat stirring continuously until it starts to thicken and become a custard, at this point remove from the heat and add in your gelatine leaf.

Sponge Recipe – Ingredients

  • 5 x 50 gm eggs at room temperature
  • 150 gm plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 175 gm castor sugar
  • 50 gm corn flour


Pre heat a fan forced oven to 170 degrees. In a mixing bowl place your eggs, sugar and vanilla essence and using an electric beater, beat well until light in colour and fluffy. Slowly fold in your flour and corn flour and mix gently by hand with a spatula, being careful not to take all the air out of the eggs. Line a cake tin or a baking dish with some baking powder and spread a small amount of butter on it, pour in your sponge mixture and back for 20 minutes until cooked.

Remove and allow to cool.

Additional Ingredients

  • 2 sheets of puffed pastry
  • 3 – 4 tblsp Alchermes liqueur
  • 4 tblsp castor sugar
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • 200 ml water


Preheat oven to 170 °. Roll out your puff pastry thinly and then transfer to a baking tray that you have placed baking paper on. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes or until cooked, remove and leave to cool. To prepare your Alchermes liquid, place the 200ml water with 4 tblsp of sugar in a pot and bring to the boil, remove from the heat once all of the sugar has dissolved. Tip into a shallow but large circumference bowl and add in your Alchermes liqueur.

Method to Assemble Dessert

Place one sheet of your puff pastry on a serving plate and then spread half of the custard over it. Slice your sponge into the same size of your puff pastry, but half it so that it is only about 1 cm thick. Place your sponge into the Alchermes liquid and let it absorb the liqueur.

Then place the sponge on top of the custard and spread the rest of your custard on top of the sponge. Lastly place your other pastry sheet on top and dust with icing sugar.

You are ready to serve!!

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